Welcome to this week’s round-up of all the action from WWE’s women’s divisions. NXT made the WWE women’s division feel important this week, on SmackDown as well as their own show.
The Kabuki Warriors def. Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch
This was a pre-taped Manchester, UK, tour show. Becky Lynch opened the show alongside the announcement that she would be joining Charlotte Flair to face The Kabuki Warriors for the tag titles. It was supposed to be Flair and Natalya but Natalya didn’t travel for family reasons.
Lynch stated by saying she was glad to be back in the UK where she was training as a fifteen old. And now she’s back as the RAW Women’s Champion. But it’s also the most dangerous time of her career because the fights are getting harder and the list of people looking to take her out is getting longer. To that she says, bring them on, because while she’s been crisscrossing the world doing all the things it takes to be The Man, they’ve been sitting home or training or getting better. And to that, she says bring them on. She’s never going to stop running her mouth or slapping heads or making people better because the only thing she really fears in life is not being the greatest.
She introduced the match has her chance to become Becky Two Belts again, and out came Flair and The Kabuki Warriors.
The Kabuki Warriors (C) vs Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair – WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship match
Judging by Flair’s arm in front of Lynch’s face during their introduction, it is a familiar but uneasy alliance between Lynch and Flair. They don’t need to like each other to team together.
The match was great, of course. All four women are amongst the best WWE have to offer, with no added qualifier for gender or anything else.
Charlotte Flair’s own arrogance temporarily lost her control of the match. She had Kairi Sane worn down, but invited her to tag out so she could get to Asuka and Asuka briefly got the better of her. She was back in control when Shayna Baszler turned up just before the break.
Baszler did nothing more than stand at ringside and watch, even when Asuka distracted the ref so Sane could get some extra kicks in right in front of her. She watched the whole time Flair was getting punished by The Kabuki Warriors after that, and watched Becky Lynch tag in.
For her part, Lynch didn’t pay any attention to Baszler, she was focused solely on the match. When she finally got in, she took on both Kabuki Warriors and was getting ready to go for a pin on Asuka when Baszler got up on the apron.
Becky Lynch yelled at her and the ref tried to keep Lynch in the ring, then Bayley pulled Baszler off the apron. Lynch was so busy watching Baszler flatten Bayley that she got rolled up and pinned by Asuka. Lynch left the ring to yell at Baszler some more and got attacked from behind and thrown into the barricades by Bayley.
Xia Li def. Aliyah
Io Shirai def. Mia Yim
Twice during the show cameras cut to outside where members of the women’s roster had been discovered after being attacked. The first time it was a screaming Tegan Nox and an unconscious Rhea Ripley. The second time it was Marina Shafir, Jessamyn Duke, and Candice LeRae all unconscious.
Xia Li vs Aliyah, with Vanessa Borne
Vanessa Borne interjected herself in the match, as usual, by trying to pull Aliyah out of the ring. Li was briefly distracted but quickly got the advantage back. Xia Li’s speed impresses me every time, but it may come at the expense of accuracy at times. Unfortunately, the kick that ended the match actually caught Aliyah properly in the face and Xia Li’s celebrations took place alongside medics holding a towel to Aliyah’s face to stem the bleeding.
Before the ladder match, Mia Yim’s interview was interrupted by Dakota Kai. Kai said she wanted Yim to know that there were no hard feelings and if anything goes down in the match, she has her back. Mia Yim looked a little suspicious. The assumption was that the attacks were RAW or SmackDown, but Dakota Kai has to be a suspect, surely.
Mia Yim vs Io Shirai – Ladder Match to Decide the WarGames Advantage
This main event match very much followed the trend of the women making completely sure they’re using each prop. There were some horrible ladder bumps, and Shirai took some damage to her hand from having it slammed in one. Mia Yim got one slammed on her torso. And there was one move that definitely didn’t go to plan. Io Shirai kicked a ladder into Mia Yim’s face. It looked like the ladder slipped out of her had because it hit her full in the face and broke her nose. The crowd all went ‘Oh’ at the same time and the next couple of minutes were replays and Io Shirai setting up a ladder one-handed and climbing it in triple slow motion while medics treated Yim. Mia Yim was back up to pull her off the ladder, and the match carried on.
Mia Yim is a warrior. I have no idea how she just got on with it. After she fell from the top turnbuckle following a headbutt, Dakota Kai came to check on her. Io Shirai took them both down with a moonsault.
Shirai got back in the ring and started to climb. Kai pulled her down and powerbombed her the dragged Mia Yim into the ring. Kay Lee Ray ran down and flung Dakota Kai into the steps then pushed the ladder over, with Mia Yim halfway up it. The gap between the ring and railings at Full Sail is not very wide. There was a ladder leant up against the barricade which Yim went through and broke to break her fall, but it was a terrifying-looking fall and a dodgy looking landing. Kay Lee Ray then helped Io Shirai up the ladder to get the briefcase.
Bianca Belair joined them in the ring to make the picture complete and Shayna Baszler came to the stage and applauded Ray to confirm her place in the team.
Bayley appeared behind Baszler and hit her with a chair then slammed her face into the title belt and ran away before team Baszler could get to her.
There’s a lot to pick through there. Survivor Series and WarGames have made this an extremely interesting few weeks for the women’s division, and NXT especially. I’ll be quite sad when it’s over.
The NXT injury report released later said that Mia Yim had suffered a nasal fracture and possible rib fractures and listed her fitness to compete as Day to Day. However, events on SmackDown suggest that her ribs are ok. Aliyah also suffered a nasal fracture, as a result of the match ending kick from Xia Li, and a possible orbital fracture. She is currently not cleared to compete.
Kay Lee Ray def. Xia Brookside
Kay Lee Ray vs Xia Brookside
This was a non-title match. The crowd were very much in Brookside’s corner. It didn’t help her much in the early going, but she weathered the storm and it settled into an ok match. It was all very strategic back and forth with occasional outbreaks of aggression from the champion. Xia Brookside had a few credible chances, but she got caught with a superkick and a Gory Bomb finished her off.
The second part of the Piper Niven ‘getting to know you’ package aired this week. She really is very likeable, and WWE do a good job with these packages. It was sweet.
There were no original matches at all on Main Event this week, it was a straightforward recap of the tour shows.
Sasha Banks, Nikki Cross, Carmella, & Dana Brooke def. Rhea Ripley, Dakota Kai, Tegan Nox, & Mia Yim
Bayley and Sasha Banks were interviewed before Bayley’s match. Kayla Braxton asked her about the attacks on Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler, which she said seemed personal. Bayley said Lynch and Baszler will never think of her as an afterthought again, but every time she’s been in the ring recently it’s been personal because it’s all finally about her. Banks said Nikki Cross didn’t deserve to be in Team SmackDown because she beat her last week and Bayley’s beaten her countless times. Bayley said after she beats Cross she might join Team SmackDown herself so she and Banks can beat RAW and NXT together.
Nikki Cross vs Bayley
Nikki Cross had to win this match to earn a place on Team SmackDown for Survivor Series and she started with determination. Less than a minute in Shayna Baszler arrived. Bayley hopped the barricade to get away and found her path blocked by Rhea Ripley, Dakota Kai, Mia Yim, and Tegan Nox. While they were returning Bayley to ringside, Sasha Banks knocked down Baszler from behind. The SmackDown women’s locker room poured out to help and NXT retreated, except Bayley and Baszler disappeared off into the crowd. Banks challenged Ripley, Kai, Nox, and Yim to face her Cross, Carmella and Dana Brooke.
Sasha Banks, Nikki Cross, Carmella, & Dana Brooke vs Rhea Ripley, Mia Yim, Tegan Nox, & Dakota Kai
Let me start by saying I am beyond astounded that not only did Mia Yim join the invasion, she was an active part of the match. Surely she deserved a couple of nights off after that ladder match.
Sasha Banks and Rhea Ripley did a bit of trash-talking then Banks took the interesting decision to slap Ripley’s face. Whether the vertical suplex was enough to convince her not to do that again, we’ll probably find out at Survivor Series. It devolved into an eight-woman set to going into the break.
When we came back it was Cross and Ripley, and Cross was all alone out there. The others came back one by one, each causing a little more chaos. It was Nikki Cross who finished it as well, with a swinging neckbreaker on Dakota Kai.
The rest of NXT attacked immediately after and the SmackDown locker room once again came to Cross’ defence.
No one mentioned the fact Bayley and Shayna Baszler just disappeared.
That’s it for another week of WWE women’s division action. Join me next week for the go-home shows for Survivor Series weekend and a report on the first-ever Women’s WarGames match. In the meantime follow @ArnFuriousCom to make sure you never miss a review. You can also follow me @manda_why.